Tag Archives: photoaging

Key Ingredients To Look For

When you get serious about skincare, ingredients become priority number one.  As a formulator, that is the way Dr. Obagi develops his products. He don’t have time to waste on the ineffective skincare, and neither do you. But we often hear women say that they just don’t know which ingredients are the real deal.

Let’s start with the anti-oxidants. They protect your skin cells from UV damage, pollution, and free radicals. The most common ones (and the most important!) are Vitamins A, C, & E.

Retinol (aka Active Vitamin A): This ingredient’s main function is skin cell turnover, which produces collagen—the stuff your skin had a lot of in its prime. If you’re familiar with the ZO skincare philosophy, then you know the key to younger-looking skin lies in keeping skin cells active. When they go to sleep—a result of aging—fine lines, dull skin, and wrinkles form. Retinol is like a bucket of cold water to sleepy skin cells. Continued use of it in high concentrations wakes cells up and puts them back to work.

Active Vitamin C: This is another antioxidant, but it works differently: it helps synthesize collagen. This property lends a very valuable feature to your skin in that it stabilizes free radicals, and in doing so protects healthy cells from getting damaged. In English? It’s an excellent preventative measure against wrinkles as well as the photoaging caused by sun exposure.

Vitamin E: It helps protect the skin from UV rays and, as an added bonus, softens and smoothes, too.

Be advised: Retinol is a pure and active derivative of Vitamin A. If you use a synthetic form of Vitamin A, or take oral supplements of these vitamins, you simply will not achieve the same results. It just doesn’t work that way. Additionally, Vitamins A and C have to be properly stabilized, packaged, and stored. They can’t be exposed to light or UV rays, as the formula might become inactive.

Do Your Hands Give Away Your Age?

At about age 35, your hands begin to look older. Wrinkles, age spots, loss of elasticity, protruding veins start to appear. In fact, 68% of women claim that their hands make them look at least 10 years older. So why do most hand lotions fall short?

As we get older, the skin on our hands begins to thin. Because there’s so little fat and muscle in our hands, the bones, wrinkles, and veins all begin to show. You need to thicken the skin on your hands—and retinol is the best ingredient for that. Retinol is the only ingredient proven to work on intrinsic (not environmental) damage. So why don’t most companies put in retinol? It’s expensive.

Your hands are covered with up to 30 layers of dead skin, called the stratum corneum. Occasionally you need to exfoliate all of this dead skin so that the active ingredients can penetrate the epidermis—as well as to make your hands soft and smooth. At least once a week, use a good scrub to polish your hands. Try the ZO Skin Health™ Oraser™ Microderm Hand Renewal, or mix sea salts in an acidic base , like lemon juice.

Fragrances like “peppermint kiss” may smell nice, but they don’t do a thing for your hands. Look for ingredients that really mean something, such as:

  • Shea butter—it moisturizes and protects, and is particularly beneficial for sun-exposed skin.
  • Retinol—it boosts cellular turnover and reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles, plus it reduces hyperpigmentation, aka sun spots.
  • Sunscreen with an SPF15+—UV rays are your skin’s worst enemy, so wear it every day.

That’s what we mean by “no frou-frou skin care.” Our anti-aging hand lotions aren’t loaded with scents and other filler components—just high concentrations of active ingredients.

Asian Skin—Part Nature, Part Nurture

Asian women are often the envy of women around the world because they tend to look younger than their chronological age. Why are they so fortunate? Asian skin generally contains more melanin, so photoaging is less visible. By avoiding sun exposure, they can maintain a more even-tone complexion and their skin is less prone to the tell-tale signs of aging—like wrinkling and sagging.

What are some of the characteristics of Asian skin types?

  • Sensitivity. Asian skin is susceptible to discoloration from UV rays, hormonal changes, hot water, saunas, and steam. Asian skin also reacts badly to the use of some skincare products, moisturizers, and fragrances—all of which can result in skin reactions, scarring, and increased pigmentation. Try to avoid those products and/or conditions that cause problems, and begin sun protection at an early age. Look out for ingredients like ammonia, arnia, and sodium lauryl sulfate, especially if they appear at or near the top of the ingredient list. If these ingredients are used in minute amounts (toward the bottom of the list), they may not be problematic.
  • Pigmentation. Because Asian skin produces more melanin, it has a built-in SPF that helps reduce sunburns, but this melanin also causes more discoloration. Even though the skin may appear to be light, the melanin may reside in the deeper layers of the skin. This excess melanin can induce pigmentation problems, including sun spots, dark patches, and deep discoloration that is resistant to treatment. Dark spots on the cheeks usually begin to appear in the 30s and 40s, although they can also start to appear earlier. Unfortunately, traditional ways of treating these pigmentation problems (IPL, photorejuvenation, light chemical peels, microdermabrasion, etc.) frequently are not effective, and may, in fact, cause the pigmentation to worsen. Apply broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen with at least SPF 30 every day, rain or shine, regardless of whether you’re indoors or out, as UVA rays can penetrate windows. Not only will you reduce the risk of skin cancer, you will also help reduce the incidence of pigmentation problems.
  • Oiliness/Acne. Asian skin tends to have unstable sebaceous glands. Sometimes that excess sebum production leads to discoloration and scarring. Proper care and oil-free moisturizers will help. Avoid products made with mineral oil—it’s the oil most commonly found in skincare products. It’s also important to avoid the use of cleansers that contain alcohol, as that may cause skin to produce even more oil. And don’t make the mistake of using overly harsh cleansers—look out for ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate, as these detergents can be very damaging.

The best way to treat all of these problems—sensitivity, pigmentation, and acne—is by stimulating the skin to rejuvenate itself and expedite cellular renewal. All of the ZO Skin Health products are based on this philosophy.

In more advanced cases, problem skin may require medical treatments such as peels and laser resurfacing. Ask your dermatologist or plastic surgeon what the best treatments and skin care regimen is for your skin.